Super-Charged Kickbox Party Review

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I used to love Crunch at-home workouts. Still do.

I have been sorting through my fitness DVDs and thinking about which to post to SwapADVD or trade at Half Price Books. Leisa Hart’s Buns of Steel and Abs of Steel…time to go.

But I’m thinking Super-Charged Kickbox Party (2007) is still a keeper.

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As the name suggests, the workout is a mix of kickboxing and dance moves. It’s a moderate, 45-minute cardio workout. Dance workouts are sometimes a very light cardio workout with pauses to teach moves, and kickboxing workouts can be pretty intense. This workout falls somewhere between those extremes. There are kickboxing segments with some intensity added (i.e. adding jumps to kicks), and there are fun dance moves mixed right in.

It is comparable in style to Turbo Jam, but Super-Charged Kickbox Party is less intense with less impact.

The workout also has a good warm-up and cool down.

The workout is led by Jeanette Jenkins. She offers good cues and some modifications (like you don’t have to jump). During the workout, Jeannette encourages, “Don’t get lazy!”

Some moves may not be comfortable on carpet because of the pivots involved.

Jeanette Jenkins has more workout DVDs as “The Hollywood Trainer,” including two “Sexy Abs” workouts with Kelly Rowland.

Crunch now offers Crunch Live, a streaming service.

So many at-home workout options…so little time!

Element: Stretch, Release & Restore Yoga Kit Review

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I received a complimentary copy of this fitness kit for review purposes. Also, affiliate links are marked (*).

I have written before about how much I enjoy Element workouts. There are a variety of workouts to choose from, including yoga, Pilates, barre, and dance. The workouts are filmed in beautiful locations, and they are easy to follow.

They also offer a few kits that combine fitness DVDs with home fitness equipment. There are Pilates kits with bands* and another with a small ball*. There are yoga kits, including one for beginners that includes a yoga block*.

I tried the Element Stretch, Release & Restore Yoga Kit*.

The kit includes:

  • Two DVDs featuring three yoga programs (my kit also included a code to redeem for a digital copy of the programs)
  • Reference cards with 10 tension-relieving poses
  • Two massage roller balls

According to the cover of the box, the kit is to:

Gently roll away strain and stiffness, increase flexibility, reduce muscle fatigue and soreness and generate more vitality in your life.

Doesn’t that sound nice!

yoga

The kit comes with two massage balls in two different sizes. They are firm with a spiky surface.

There are three yoga sessions on two two DVDs included in the kit. The first is Yoga for Relaxation. Ashley Turner leads this 40-minute practice. This yoga session utilizes both massage balls. Turner tells the viewer, “Tension is a habit.” This practice is used to identify where we hold tension and to release it. Instruction is by voiceover cueing.

Using the massage balls is a highly personal experience. Turner demonstrates how to use the balls using movement and body weight to massage areas where tension builds, like the shoulders and the back. It feels a little like writhing on the floor. I was wiggling and rolling a bit awkwardly at first. Turner certainly looked a lot more graceful than I felt. But, with practice, it becomes more of a flow. I began to recognize how the massage balls are an awesome tool to incorporate into a stretching and relaxation regime. When the balls hit a point of tension, I really felt it, and it felt so good to focus on those tension points with the balls.

Turner uses both sizes of massage balls for this workout, but she does not verbally indicate when or why she is switching sizes. I would also suggest wearing form-fitting clothing, so the clothes don’t roll with the ball and get tangled. I did not find this DVD available for individual purchase on Amazon.

The second DVD is Yoga for Energy & Relaxation* with Tamal Dodge. This DVD includes two yoga sessions. The first is “Energy,” a 30-minute practice with flow and a focus on breathing. There are familiar poses like sun salutations, planks, dolphin, and warrior. There are some more challenging moves like back bends and a suspended right angle pose. Dodge focuses on breath with exercises like breath of fire. Poses are held for around five breaths. The instruction is by voiceover cueing. While holding poses, there is also a simulated breath in the soundtrack. This can be distracting at first.

The second program is 40 minutes and focuses on “Relaxation.” Tamal says, “Key word for this practice is surrender.” There are poses specifically for releasing tension and increasing flexibility, including neck stretches, downward-facing dog, and a modified eagle. Once again, there is a focus on the breath. Tamal encourages the viewer, “Make your breath audible.” Once again, the inhales and exhales are on the soundtrack when poses are being held. After final relaxation pose, Tamal explains why instructors suggest that you roll to the ride side before sitting up. He says that it keeps the heart elevated, so the relaxation can continue. In all the yoga DVDs and classes I’ve had, I’ve never had an instructor explain this.

This DVD is sold separately on Amazon*.

The reference cards include information on yoga poses, including the benefits and how to do them safely. These are convenient for travel or for easy reference.

Overall, this is a great kit. The yoga practices on the DVD are relaxing. I really like the massage balls. They are a great tool to have to find hidden tension. They are easy to store and great to keep by a desk. I like to roll the small one under my feet. I would suggest this kit if you don’t have massage balls and want to give them a try. Yoga for Energy & Relaxation is also a good addition to a fitness DVD collection.

The kit is available on Amazon, and it can also be found at Walmart.

Port Arthur Mardi Gras

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We went to Southeast Texas Mardi Gras this past weekend. It’s Mardi Gras done SETX style of course. I’ve gone several times now, and it’s a fun time. We had a good time and especially enjoyed watching one of the parades (the Motorcycle Run and Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade). Things are usually the same from year-to-year, but that just meant we knew what to do!

The Budweiser Clydesdales were there, and there’s also a dalmatian dog that rides with them. They were in the Krewe of Aurora Grand Parade, and they can also be seen in their stalls eating and resting. So handsome!

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Encounter Catholic takes a free picture for you in front of Mardi Gras decorations (parts of royalty costumes), and they have frames that kids can decorate. They also hand out Catholic pamphlets and rosaries.

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There was carnival rides and games. (What would a SETX fair be without these things?!) Food, drinks, and live music as well.

The parades were fun to watch, and there plenty of throws for us. Trip was having a blast and really got into catching them. Most the beads we caught went around his neck. He was swimming in beads. At one point, Trip–with his neck heavy from the weight of all the beads–declared with glee, “I’m the KING of beads!”

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Happy Mardi Gras! Tomorrow the Season of Lent begins for us.

 

Harvestland Turkey Review

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I had the opportunity to sample and review Harvestland turkey, chicken, and/or pork through the MomsMeet program.

I’m impressed with the information about the Harvestland company. If you’re going to eat meat, you hope they’re raised like this. According to Harvestland:

All chickens are raised on family farms with very strict USDA Process Verified programs, which ensures that the chickens are fed all-vegetarian diets with no animal by-products, raised cage-free, and are never given any antibiotics, ever.

Raised to the same standards as their chicken, HARVESTLAND® turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, steroids or hormones.*

Pork is the latest addition to the HARVESTLAND® brand. Their hogs are raised on family farms in the Midwest and are also fed an all-vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, hormones or steroids.*

Harvestland also offers USDA-certified organic chicken. These chickens are raised without antibiotics on free-range, organic farms and are fed an all-vegetarian diet of certified organic ingredients.

The HARVESTLAND® product line includes fresh chicken, turkey, and pork products, as well as a variety of fully-cooked refrigerated, frozen, and deli meats. Prices vary based on the retailer.

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones or steroids in poultry.

I have wanted to make some chili lately, so I made a two-bean turkey chili. I browned a pound of ground turkey and drained (there wasn’t much fat to drain off the turkey meat). I added half a can of black beans (undrained), a whole can of pinto beans (undrained), and about 16 oz. of tomato paste. I stirred in a package of chili mix. And then I simmered on low for about 45 minutes.

chili

Super easy, quick, and tasty. I sometimes have chili and rice, but I served this as a soup with cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

The Harvestland website has a ton of recipes to try, and you can search by keyword (i.e. ground turkey), meal type, category (i.e. kid friendly), and/or prep/cook time. They also have a fun section on their website called “Eat Like Your Ancestors” with recipe recreations from decades past.

I enjoyed cooking with Harvestland meat, and I appreciate the quality. The price was reasonable in comparison to other meat products. I found the Harvestland brand at Walmart. I looked for it at Kroger, but it wasn’t there. Here’s the logo to look for:

HARV-logo

Connect with Harvestland online:

harvestlandbrand.com/

facebook.com/HarvestlandOrganic

twitter.com/Harvestland

pinterest.com/harvestland

instagram.com/harvestland

 I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes at the Classical Theatre Company

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The Classical Theatre Company’s The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes is a streamlined version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story and the 1910 stage adaptation of the work. There’s plenty of delightful Sherlock-themed entertainment in movies and TV, but it was entertaining to see a stage adaptation.

sherlock holmes

This was my second time to see a production at the Classical Theatre in Houston, and they are definitely worth checking out! They focus exclusively on (as the company name suggests) classic plays that are at least a century old.

The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes runs through February 22, 2015.

Weight Watchers 10-Minute Belly, Butt, and Thigh Tone Ups Review

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I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for review purposes. Also, affiliate links are marked (*).

Weight Watchers: 10-Minute Belly, Butt, and Thigh Tone Ups* includes six 10-minute workouts that focus on the lower body. (Well, three focus on the lower body, two on the core, and one on the upper body.)

1. Lower Body: There are familiar moves that are slightly changed to make them seem fresh. There are moves like rack squats, a leg sweep/jack combination, and bridges on the floor.

2. Belly: This session includes moves for stabilization (planks with weight passes) and flexion ww(weighted roll ups). There are moves that will test your control, namely a bicycle with a thigh push.

3. Core: The soundtrack is overwhelming on this one. It sounds like a video game. The workout includes moves that uses stabilization to build core strength. It’s not so much about twisting and crunches. Rather, you use the arms and legs while holding the core. There are back moves too.

4. Upper Body: Familiar moves like bicep curls and one-arm rows are combined with kickboxing moves and pushups to create this upper body workout.

5. Butt: This session has both standing moves and floor work. Optional jumps can be added to squats and plies for some cardio. Floor work includes leg lifts on stomach.

6. Thighs: There are moves to work the thighs from different angles, such as a squat moving front, side, and back. There are options to add jumps to add intensity and a bit of cardio to the workout. No equipment is used in this session.

The workouts are led by Lisa Wheeler. Love her! Beginner, intermediate, and advanced options are shown. Weights can be added to some of the moves to add intensity.

Overall, this workout is good for beginners with some experience who are looking to progress or are looking for unique toning workouts. For individuals with more experience, there aren’t enough reps of the moves in these 10-minute workouts to fatigue the muscles.

The DVD is available on Amazon* for around $10.

Best Birthday Freebies

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January was my birthday month, which meant a ton of birthday offers from restaurants and stores. David and I often do “lunch dates” while Trip is at school, and we used some of the b-day coupons for that, and it really made it feel like my birthday was one celebration after another…

Some of my favorite coupons:

1. Fogo de Chão

Going to this Brazilian steakhouse is more than a meal. It is an epic event. There is a salad bar with appetizers and many, many salad options. And, you’re given a card that indicates when you’re ready for meat or not. (Green side means go! Red means not right now.) As soon as you are ready for meat, gaucho chefs bring a wide selection of meat for you to choose from. Our servers also asked if there was any particular thing on the menu that we wanted them to bring by. In addition to all that, there are also sides of cheese bread, polenta, mashed potatoes, and bananas.

There are other Brazilian steakhouses, but Fogo is the ONE my husband has been wanting to go to for some time. We actually drive by the restaurant from time to time in Houston, and it finally occurred to me…I could get him a gift card for Christmas! Well, I did that, and I was also put on their email list.

fogo

A bit after Christmas, I received a birthday email from Fogo, along with a $25 off coupon. Great timing! We combined the gift card and birthday credit for a wonderful lunch.

There was a salad bar with so many options, and the meat was just delicious. We ate a lot. We were stuffed. We made fun of people who actually had room for dessert still, but then our server asked if I wanted the (complimentary) birthday dessert. And, he added the magic word. CHOCOLATE. Well……okay…………….

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Needless to say, we weren’t hungry for the next week! Amazing meal, and we had such a nice visit.

2. Grimaldi’s

Delicious, delicious Grimaldi’s, an oven-bake pizzeria. They have wonderful pizza and delicious salads. They emailed a coupon for a free small, one-topping pizza. We went to the Sugar Land location. We ordered a half cheese pizza (for Trip), half with bacon. While we waited, our server gave Trip some “play” dough:

pizza

3. Red Robin

Red Robin Royalty receive a free burger during their birthday month. Along with that comes their bottomless fries.

4. Lenny’s

They sent an email coupon for a free sub. Chicken salad sub. Yes. Please. And thank you.

5. Which Wich

Can’t get enough wiches! They emailed a coupon for a free wich. So many choices here: Thank You Turkey, Caprese, Egg Salad… My husband actually used my “freebie,” and I upgraded to a Philly, a wich available only for a limited time.

6. Marble Slab.

A free small ice cream with mix-ins (another coupon sent via email). Shared this one with Trip.

7. DSW

Designer Shoe Warehouse emails a $5 coupon. (I had other retailers send % off coupons, but I like that DSW just straight up gives you five bucks to use in the store (or online).

On the clock…I haven’t used these coupons yet, but they haven’t expired yet.

8. La Madeleine

A free pastry.

9. Jamba Juice

A free smoothie or juice for Jamba Insider Rewards members. I have to get my servings of fruits and vegetables anyway…

I also had some family time for my birthday. Check out this adorable cake my MIL got for me:

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